Reduction in soft loans will improve access of successful businesses to loans
According to the Belarusian Economy Ministry, in 2017, administrative lending to the economy will be halved as compared with 2016. The estimated amount of administrative loans in 2016 should not exceed BYN 2.8 billion. Simultaneously, enterprises should repay previously issued loans, which exceed this amount. The state is reducing administrative loans in accordance with the commitments to the EEU Anti-Crisis Fund. In 2017, administrative lending should not exceed BYN 1.3 billion. The state is likely to reduce support for key economic sectors. That said, half of agricultural enterprises could become unprofitable; cases of bankruptcy and restructuring of public enterprises could double as compared with 2016. In addition, the state will require additional funds to repay social obligations under labour contracts with employees at distressed companies. Access by successful businesses to credit resources is likely to improve due to the anticipated overall decline in interest rates, albeit social tension may increase due to a new wave of layoffs at troubled enterprises.
President Lukashenka continues to rotate staff and rejuvenate heads of departments and universities following new appointments in regional administrations. Apparently, new Information Minister Karliukevich could somewhat relax the state policy towards the independent media and introduce technological solutions for retaining control over Belarus’ information space. New rectors could strengthen the trend for soft Belarusization in the regions and tighten the disciplinary and ideological control over the student movement in the capital.
President Lukashenka has appointed new ministers of culture and information, the new rector of the Belarusian State University and heads of three universities, assistants in the Minsk and Vitebsk regions.
The new Information Minister Karliukevich is likely to avoid controversial initiatives similar to those former Minister Ananich was famous for, however, certainly within his capacities. Nevertheless, the appointment of Belarusian-speaking writer Karliukevich could be regarded as the state’s cautious attempt to relax environment in the media field and ensure the sovereignty of national media.
The Belarusian leadership has consolidated the trend for mild Belarusization by appointing a young historian and a ‘reasonable nationalist’, Duk as the rector at the Kuleshov State University in Mogilev. Meanwhile, while choosing the head of the Belarusian State University, the president apparently had in mind the strengthening of the ideological loyalty among the teaching staff and students at the main university in order to keep the youth movement at bay. Previously, Korol was the rector of the Kupala State University in Grodno, where he held purges among the disloyal teaching staff.
The trend for the renewal of mid-ranking executives and their rejuvenation has confirmed. The age of the Culture Minister and three new rectors varies from 39 to 44 years old.